Uganda Rubbishes Sudan’s Claim of Rebel Support

SPLM-N fighters in Blue Nile

The Ugandan government has denied claims by Khartoum that Kampala supports rebels fighting the Sudan government of suspected war criminal Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir’s advisor, Mustafa Osman Ismail, warned on Monday that his country was running out of patience with Uganda over their alleged support to rebel groups fighting Khartoum.

Mustafa also claimed that the new break-away state of South Sudan backed rebel groups in different parts of the country fighting to overthrow his senior’s regime.

However, International Relations minister Henry Okello Oryem described the claims as “rubbish.”

“We have no intention to incite, encourage or support rebels to overthrow the government of Khartoum,” Oryem said on Tuesday.

“Uganda is law-abiding and works within the spirit of the charter of the African Union and therefore cannot be involved in what is alleged,” he added.

Khartoum has also persistently accused the newly established state of South Sudan of backing the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) and several Darfur rebel groups that joined last year to form the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).

Sudanese officials also claim that Uganda is hosting a number of senior Darfur rebel groups.

However, minister Oryem observed that if Khartoum has domestic challenges, it should find ways of addressing them other than using Uganda as a scape-goat.

“We are not harboring or supporting Darfur rebels,” he emphasized.

Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Amb. James Mugume, wondered why Khartoum had persistently raised the allegations yet the two governments had previously discussed the matter in Kampala.

“They [Khartoum] came up with fictitious names of people being trained here in Kampala. We discussed the matter with Amb. Ismail and the technical team. After the meeting, we asked them to provide data and substantiate the allegations. We are still waiting,” Mugume explained.

Mugume said Uganda is not training any rebel groups and is not about to do so because the move is against the 2006 Great Lakes Conference Pact on peace, stability and development.

Under the pact, Great Lakes member countries committed themselves not to support rebels from a neighboring country.

The pact also criminalizes citizens who support rebel activities in other member states.

The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have been battling multiple insurgencies in South Kordofan and Blue Nile since last year. All attempts by African Union mediators to broker a ceasefire have failed.

United Nations officials say more than 410,000 people have been displaced by the fighting. They also warned that famine may be forthcoming unless Khartoum allows aid groups in the two states.

Sudan has rejected any plans for an aid corridor saying that supplies could go to SPLM-N rebels.

According to Sudanese media, Ismail said that the Salva Kiir-led South Sudan is using its new status as an independent state as well as its oil wealth to wage war against Sudan.

“Those at the top in the state of South [Sudan] want to destabilize Sudan,” Ismail was quoted as saying by state media.

He stressed that Khartoum will not stand idle while Kampala and Juba continue to backing rebels.

The presidential advisor said last month that all options are on the table, including military ones in response to South Sudan’s “aggression”.